Aura Garcia is a problem-solver. A junior sociology major from Des Moines, Iowa, Garcia is compelled to assist others and reach resolutions wherever needed. As a resident assistant in Eaton Hall, she moderates roommate conflicts and helps students reach common ground. As a Cyclone Aid, she helps new students navigate campus during summer orientation and addresses their questions and concerns. So, choosing to pursue a sociology degree—where she can help solve pressing societal problems—just made sense to her … eventually.
The right fit
Sociology was not on Garcia’s radar when she first came to campus. Instead, she had her sights set on anthropology.
“I really like history and knowing why people do the things they do. But in doing my research, I found out that anthropology is more about why people did things in the past, whereas sociology is why we choose to do the things that we do,” she said.
Additionally, Garcia discovered that sociologists are innate problem-solvers, just like her.
“Sociology really looks at the root cause of problems and tries to find solutions that will have a long-lasting impact,” she said. “That was my biggest gravitation toward sociology.”
Early Cyclone start
Deciding to attend Iowa State was a much easier decision for Garcia, who decided to become a Cyclone when she was only 12 years old. She first visited campus during her older sister’s orientation and knew immediately that Iowa State was the college home she was seeking.
Iowa State has offered Garcia numerous opportunities. In addition to her roles as a resident assistant and Cyclone Aid, she’s grateful for the connections she has developed through the Womxn of Colour network, an organization established in 2011 to support women of color on campus.
“It’s a great way for me to find a community of my own,” Garcia said. “Coming from Des Moines, it was obviously diverse, but I went to a small Catholic high school so it was kind of hard to feel like I belonged there. So, coming to Iowa State, I knew I wanted to find a place where I felt seen and represented. Being part of the Womxn of Colour network has definitely helped me find women like myself that I can relate to and share similar experiences with.”
Garcia considers herself a shy person, but her Iowa State experiences, especially being a Cyclone Aid, have given her confidence to try new things.
“As a Cyclone Aid, those small, one-on-one interactions I’m having every day with parents and students have definitely brought me out of my comfort zone and made me a more confident person,” she said. “As an incoming freshman, I would have never thought I’d be here at orientation every single day speaking in front of family panels with microphones because that would be terrifying to me. But today, it brings me so much joy to talk with families. It’s learning to be out of your comfort zone and feeling a little bit uncomfortable that makes you grow.”
Following graduation from Iowa State, Garcia hopes to become a family therapist. But if an opportunity at Iowa State presents itself, she will definitely consider working for her alma mater.
“I really want to be a family therapist. That’s my dream goal. But I’m definitely interested in working in student affairs or anything with Iowa State. I would love to stay and work at Iowa State,” Garcia said.